Before you install a new air conditioning system, consider your home's electrical system. It's not uncommon for old houses to have only 110-volt, 60-amp service for the entire home, barely enough power to handle the home's existing complement of lights and appliances. Central air conditioners require a dedicated 230-volt circuit and may require 20 to 50 amps of power, making an electrical service upgrade necessary. Have an electrician size your home's electrical supply up before your HVAC contractor begins work.
In locations where furniture or beds may be pushed against an extension cord where the cord joins the plug, use a special "angle extension cord," which is specifically designed for use in these instances. Don't use staples or nails to attach extension cords to a baseboard or to another surface. This could damage the cord and present a shock or fire hazard.
Wiring that falls out of its routing on equipment or trailers has a tendency to get torn off. Metal clips work to solve this problem, but another solution is to use silicone caulk. Put a dab where you want the wire to run, then push the wiring into the dab. Tape the wire lightly so it stays put while the silicone cures.
There are three main ways lightning enters homes and buildings: (1) a direct strike, (2) through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, and (3) through the ground. Regardless of the method of entrance, once in a structure, the lightning can travel through the electrical, phone, plumbing, and radio/television reception systems. Lightning can also travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.
To save small parts during a project, don't overlook plastic sandwich bags or the small plastic bags available at the grocery store. Throw the parts in the bag and tack it up on the wall. Then, if you don't get back to the job right away, all the little parts will be there waiting for you. This idea works well while doing electrical work; put receptacle screws and covers in a bag and tack it up next to the outlets as you work on them.
Avoid flat-topped staples for running speaker wires along the walls — they can sever the wire's insulation. Cables that come with your home theater set aren't likely to be top-quality — plan to upgrade.
To get professional-looking splices in wiring without electrical tape, try head-shrinkable tubing. Slip a tube on one of the wires before splicing. After splicing, move it over the splice and apply heat with a heat gun. The tubing will shrink down for a neat, protective covering. You can buy tubes in multiple sizes, as well as shrinkable wire caps to use in place of screw-on wire nuts. They're perfect for work on vehicles, trailers, underground and pool wiring, or for outdoor lighting or sprinkler systems.
Designers recommend placing seats back at least twice the width of your screen, but also a few feet away from the back wall, so you can savor your surround sound. If you don't want the rest of the house to shake, invest in heavy carpet and padding to absorb sounds. Don't automatically assume basements are the best place for a home theater (they're prone to flooding). But if the basement is your only option, don't run wires or cables along the floor.
No matter what size your workshop is, there are some basic safety tools you should not be without. A smoke alarm, fire extinguisher, safety goggles, and first aid kit are absolute must-haves. Plus, all of your electrical outlets should be equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters. If an emergency ever should ever arise, a telephone should be nearby to enable you to call for help.
When installing in-wall speakers, use a drywall saw to cut the hole. A utility knife will make the cleanest cuts in drywall, but a utility knife can be difficult to control by a non-expert. Electric rotary saws make cutting drywall physically easy, but they too can be difficult to control. A simple, inexpensive drywall saw (about $10 at your local hardware store) is the best bet for beginners. The speaker's frame will cover up any rough edges.